With 90 percent of real estate searches starting online, and every professional real estate agent putting up a website, you’re going to need to do a little more to cut through the noise. Generating online leads is much more than setting out your virtual “Open” sign and waiting for a response. Instead, you’ll need to do a little bit more to convince a potential buyer or seller to give up their email address or contact you directly.
Take a look at these specific actions you can take to generate more online leads and grow your real estate business.
Most of the content on your website should be free and easy to find. One of the best ways to convince someone that you know what you’re doing is to show them. However, requiring registration to see valuable content or access certain portions of your website can be a way to generate genuine leads.
Whether it’s a white paper, ebook, or long-form blog post, make sure it’s not a cookie-cutter piece of content that they can find anywhere on the web. Consider in-depth analysis of your local market, interviews with lenders or title companies about the process, or something educational that goes beyond the basics.
After a new follower subscribes to your blog or your weekly newsletter, use an autoresponder message to follow up and start a conversation. They’re interested in the content you offer, or they wouldn’t have subscribed but they’re not really an online lead yet. Take the bland “Thank you for subscribing” email they receive and use it to your advantage. The trick to this follow up is remembering to keep it generic enough to get people to respond but friendly enough to not seem like a sales pitch.
“Thanks so much for subscribing to my newsletter! You can expect to receive emails # times a week on all things real estate related. Tell me, what would you most like to know about the real estate process? Are there any questions on your mind about buying or selling a home?”
If you’re feeling daring, you may even ask if they’re looking to buy or sell a home in the next few months. The problem with this is that you may come across more like a salesperson and less like someone who wants to have a conversation. Remember, when someone replies to the message, respond in a timely, friendly, and professional manner.
Facebook is popular for listings because of all the pictures and the ease of responding, liking, or sharing. If that’s your preferred social media channel, use it. Twitter and Instagram offer ads for businesses, so don’t feel like Facebook is your only option, though. Create a landing page or link to a place on your website so you can take registrations from people who want to know more about the property.
You may not feel comfortable requiring an email to view a listing, especially when someone who really wants to will find it online somewhere else. That’s fine. Make sure to follow up with anyone who comments on your ad. Invite people to private message you for more details – when they do, you’ve just generated a legitimate online lead outside of your website.
Your website is filled with great blog posts. You may even give away a free ebook to every subscriber. What more can do you do to generate a lead? Consider doing something for a possible buyer or seller before they commit to you as their agent.
Yes, you’re doing extra work for no guarantee of a pay-off, but you’re also offering something of value in a way that can set you apart from the crowd. Create a landing page and promote your offer across all your social media channels. Turn it into a blog post so all your blog subscribers can see. Add a banner to the top of your website so even new visitors will see the offer. You don’t have to make the offer available all the time, either. Try running promotions for a week or a month at a time to see what kind of response you get.
Not everyone will respond to your offers or your promotions, but not everyone needs to. What you need are credible leads that, given enough time and relationship-building, will become happy buyers or sellers. Remember, when you get their initial response or their first indication of interest, don’t go into a hard sales pitch – start a conversation instead and create a working relationship that could make them a client for life.
Former Communications Director for a local Realtor Association and a big cheerleader for all things real estate related, Michaela is now a full-time freelance writer specializing in real estate and other business industries. When she's not writing the serious business-y stuff, she's likely to be found writing about the hilarity of being a Mom to two rowdy boys.